top bar beekeeping

*Edited because I was incorrect on one point, now better reflects the current science. 

Not so fun facts you probably didn’t know about why honeybees are dying off:

Commercial honey production is highly questionable in its practices. They use thin plastic sheets with specifically sized cells already in place for bees to draw comb off of. This comb is unnaturally large for worker bees, but too small to produce drones, the male bees whose only function is reproduction. When wild bees draw their own comb, worker bee comb is significantly smaller and there are many many more drones produced than in foundation-based hives.

Due to the lowered production of drones, who can’t help honey production and are thus considered worthless by commercial honey producers but are essential to the species as a whole, there is a distinct lack of genetic diversity. This, coupled with wild habitat destruction that’s killed off so many wild hives, means that almost all currently kept strains of bee have functionally identical genetics. Which is awful, to say the least, especially for a species that’s already struggling to fight off new parasites.

Their genetics are further weakened by the reliance on chemical treatments to fight parasites. The parasites are getting more resistant, and weaker lines are being preserved.

The other main culprits are constant habitat destruction, pollution, insecticides and pesticides, and the tendency to treat bee swarms as pests (DO NOT DO THIS. DO NOT CALL AN EXTERMINATOR. CALL A BEEKEEPER.)

Support local beekeepers who practice sustainable beekeeping with a focus on the survival of the bees and not on honey production. Don’t buy commercial honey.

I finally got around to installing the bars on the top bar beehive. We had a bunch of brass cupboard handles from an old kitchen, which I screwed on to the bars to make the frames (and combs) easier to lift.

So far, this thing has been built with almost 100% salvaged materials: the only things purchased have been screws and copper nails.